Anime, manga, tales of Samurai from a past time, beautiful architecture, cherry blossom landscapes, and fresh sushi are just a few of the reasons to spend high school abroad in Japan.
Experience a summer in Tokyo while living with a host family while perfecting your Japanese language skills. Enroll in a local high school in Osaka or Kyoto and take classes alongside Japanese students, and get to know them by joining one of the many club options available. Learn about Japanese history on excursions to Nara, the country's first capital. Artistic students could even spend part of a summer learning about Japanese contemporary arts in Tomakomai, Otaru, Bihoro, or Nanae.
Japan is great for students who have in interest in Japanese language, want to work on their art skills, are eager to learn more about Asian studies, and are intrigued by beautiful temples.
If you're interested in doing high school abroad in Japan, you can choose from:
- Summer study abroad
- Semester or year exchange
- Language immersion
- Art programs
- Teen Travel
Summer Study Abroad
Spend part of your summer living with a host family while taking part in an intensive language immersion program, or a contemporary art focused program. During the duration of the program, you can live with a host family in cities like Tokyo, Bihoro, Nanae, Tomakomai, Otaru, or Fukuoka.
High School Exchange
If you're eager to live and study in Japan longer you can enroll in a semester, year, or gap year abroad. Immerse yourself in the culture while living with a host family and attend classes alongside Japanese students. Homestay placements can be in a big city like Tokyo or Kyoto, or in a remote village closer to Japan's beautiful landscape.
When you're not in the classroom or focusing on your rigorous coursework, you can get to know your fellow classmates and new friends better by joining one of the many sports or culture based clubs available to youth in Japan. You'll also get to know the country well by going on program excursions to historical sites in different cities.
To fully master Japanese, you'll get to live with a host family in Sapporo, Fukuoka, or Tokyo for one to three months, take 20-35 hours of intensive language, and get to put your skills to use while on excursions to see some of the country's most historical sights, as you learn more about both ancient and current Japanese life.
Is NGO and development work calling your name? Then you should apply for a fellowship to spend 13-15 months doing hands on field work in Japan, making an impact through education, community development, and expanding local access to resources.
Students who have a love for calligraphy, manga, anime, and other forms of graphic arts can spend a summer living in Tokyo or Sapporo while enhancing their portfolios. Students will learn from professional artists, while also being inspired on classroom visits to museums and to different artistic districts within the city.
High schoolers interested in spending a year around the world could board a ship and take their classes at sea, while visiting the places they learn about. Alternatively, students eager to see more of Japan itself can enroll in a 17 day travel program throughout the country.
Planning Your Trip
According to the Embassy of Japan, students from the US entering Japan for 90 or fewer days will not require a student visa. Longer term programs such as semester and full-year will require students to have a visa upon entry, but program providers will help students with the visa application process.
The majority of students will be placed in a homestay for the duration of their time abroad in Japan. Often times, students say this is their favorite part. The location of the homestay varies on student preference and host family availability, and program providers will handle the logistics of finding placements for students.
Some programs include excursions to other cities around Japan, during which students will sleep in hotels or with another local host family in the designated city or village.
The official currency in Japan in the Yen, and 108.0 Yen is equivalent to 1 dollar. According to Lonely Planet, a normal low cost lunch averages around $800 Yen, and a midrange dinner costs $4,000 Yen. Most meals will be provided by host families though.
All major cities in Japan have ATMs, but it is still smart to withdraw money prior to going on an excursion somewhere more remote.
Program costs vary depending on type and duration. A summer program ranges between $1,990-$11,995 for programs between 2 to 6 weeks. A short term teen travel program through Japan costs $5,485. Art programs costs $6,300 for one month. Yearlong programs cost between $11,500-$15,000 and semester long programs cost between $11,595- $13,500.
Japan has four beautiful, distinct seasons. As you may have heard, Japan is known for its extraordinary cherry blossoms in the spring. Weather and forecast really varies by region though, so make sure to bring layers.
Here are some essential things to bring with you:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- One pair of dressy shoes
- Rain jacket
- Clothes that mix and match well
- A few dressy outfits
- A two prong converter (100V)
Health and Safety
Prior to entering Japan, travelers must get vaccinated for measles, according to the Travel Vaccination Companion.
Japan is known for its earthquakes and tsunamis, and on-site staff and host families are there to ensure the safety of students. Aside from Mother Nature, the only thing students need to be concerned about is pick-pocketing, as is the case in any major city. We recommend keeping copies of important documents, and leaving your credit cards and passport at home to be safe.